Kane comes up big for U.S.

By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — If not for Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby could’ve been the hero much earlier.

The U.S. forward produced his defining game in the 3-2 defeat to Team Canada in the Olympic men’s hockey final Sunday afternoon at GM Place.

Kane assisted on both American goals.

He was dangerous on every shift, so U.S. coach Ron Wilson kept rolling him out there.

And still, he had the juice to chase Crosby down on a breakaway with three minutes left in the third period, helping keep it close until he set up Zach Parise’s game-tying goal with 24.4 seconds left.

“I was thinking I better get my ass back there as quick as possible,” the 21-year-old from Buffalo said. “That’s probably the fastest I’ve ever skated on a backcheck.”

The Chicago Blackhawks star, picked first overall in the NHL two years after Crosby, nearly scored in the first period, too, but the puck rolled just in front of the goal-line. The end result — no goal — was similar to his controversial shootout in the 2007 world junior semifinal.

“It sucks,” Kane said. “You think tht this kind of game only happens once every four years and you don’t know what’s going to happen. It burns a lot right now.”

Team Canada defenceman and Hawks mate Duncan Keith said the backcheck proved Kane’s emerging maturity.

“He’s getting better, he’s quite a player,” he said. “In Chicago, he’s been pretty much the best player all year. He’s one of the guys we focused on here and knew we had to watch here and he still found a way to produce.

“He’s quite a player.”

And now, a lot of people know it.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

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